Page D1.1 . 06 March 2002                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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Australia Style

by George Michell

Australians enjoy an enviable lifestyle, with indulgent habits of entertaining, aided by an incomparable cuisine, easy access to beach and bush retreats, and frequent travel overseas.

Though this picture of a privileged society may be easily discarded as idealized and unrealistic, there is some truth in the claim that a greater proportion of the nation's population has access to a wide range of leisure and cultural activities than ever before.

Australians have become visually aware: they notice their cityscapes and landscapes with unprecedented delight; they fight concertedly to preserve their historical and natural heritage; and they wish to live in houses that are not merely comfortable, but also visually challenging. This quest for an aesthetic environment underpins the new Australia style.

Australians relish their place in a wider cultural world. The new Australia style is similarly global, registering most of the stylistic idioms current in Europe and the countries of the Pacific Rim. Yet the houses illustrated here could never have been built in Provence, Devon, or California. They have a natural breezy quality, even a brashness, that is very much Australian.

Looking out to the Landscape

Nowhere is this better seen than in the special relationship between indoors and outdoors. Like most aspects of Australian life, new houses are outwardly focused. They open onto courts, backyards, sand dunes and bush, all the open-air settings of everyday life.   >>>

 
This article is excerpted from New Australia Style by George Michell and John Gollings, with permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

 

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ArchWeek Image

Lindsay and Kerry Clare's hilltop pavilion, Pomona, Queensland, Australia.
Photo: John Gollings

ArchWeek Image

Dining and living areas open off the deck of the Clare's pavilion.
Photo: John Gollings

 

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